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BT to offer wholesale ‘midband’ service from the summer

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BT is set to roll-out a new wholesale "midband" Net access service from the summer which should be available in around 97 per cent of the UK.

Full details of the 128Kbps service are due to be released in early April when BT will announce the full spec of the product plus pricing.

The Register understands that while the service - described by one insider as similar to a flat-rate ISDN service - will be unmetered it will also be capped.

The price for the service has yet to be set although it's understood that it is unlikely to much cheaper than current ADSL services.

ISPs and other operators have been told that the service will shortly become available and are, no doubt, considering whether to offer the service to consumers.

A spokesman for BT's customer facing operation told El Reg that it was waiting for full details about the product and pricing before deciding if and how it would roll-out the service.

Freeserve told us: "We can confirm that we have received notification from BT regarding their offer of a midband wholesale product. No decision has been made by Freeserve on this but we will let you know as soon as there is something to say."

While a spokesman for AOL UK told El Reg: "We're always pleased when BT offers a retail product on a wholesale basis, though the only caveat is that we wouldn't want it to hinder the rollout of broadband to local exchanges - it is only an interim step after all to a proper service."

Critically, BT points out that the service is not broadband - a point the telco is keen to stress.

Which means that although it fits the Government's new definition of broadband ("a generic term describing a range of technologies operating at various data transfer speeds") Oftel will not be able to include it in its now warped and utterly valueless broadband usage figures. ®

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